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Capital Report: 4-10-2020

Florida’s COVID-19 cases continue to tick up, officials say showing linear growth.  Ryan Dailey reports Governor Ron DeSantis is giving updates on hospital capacity by the day and preparing overflow facilities in case they’re needed. At the same time, there’s a rush to fortify the state’s overburdened unemployment system as more than half a million Floridians have filed claims.

Florida schools have been shut down for about two-and-a-half weeks now and are expected to stay closed at least through May first. Some school districts are already making plans to be out for the remainder of the year, even as Governor Ron DeSantis mulls a reopening. Lynn Hatter reports the closure is especially hard for seniors who are facing the loss of milestone events like proms and graduation.

Bills passed during this year’s Legislative Session have started arriving on Governor DeSantis’s desk to await his signature.  The process was delayed by the coronavirus situation.  The governor received seven bills on Wednesday of this week and he signed all of them.  While most were relatively non-controversial, Blaise Gainey reports one upped the stakes for citizens’ initiatives on ballots and its opponents are disappointed in DeSantis’s move.

More than two dozen Florida cities and towns have elections scheduled this month or next (in April or May.)  But with a statewide shelter-at-home order and social distancing in effect, some cities have decided elections can wait. And as Steve Bousquet reports, Governor DeSantis agrees.

As people search for staples on nearly empty grocery store shelves, some are turning to small international markets to find goods.  Robbie Gaffney reports owners of these businesses are seeing demand surges on par with what’s happening nationally.

This month marks a decade since an oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing 11 workers and leading to the largest oil spill in history. Regan McCarthy looks back at how communities in North Florida’s Panhandle responded and how recovery from the spill is moving forward today.